Defamation Battle: Jammu and Kashmir High Court Upholds Trial against Greater Kashmir

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently dismissed a request to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed against the English daily, Greater Kashmir. This lawsuit stemmed from the publication of two reports regarding specific government land designated for a school, as per the case of Fayaz Ahmed Kaloo vs. Tej Kishan Ganjoo.

High Court’s Ruling

Justice Rahul Bharti emphasized that the trial court holds the responsibility to assess the intent behind the two newspaper articles and determine whether they qualify as defamatory. Consequently, the High Court rejected the plea to dismiss the trial and lifted a previous stay on the case’s proceedings in the trial court. 

The court mentioned that the crux of the defamation lies in the perceived intent and impression conveyed by the two news items, as asserted by the complainant. It is not within the purview of this Court to substitute its judgment for that of the trial court in evaluating the defendants’ defense against a criminal complaint filed by the respondent.

The Case Details

The case revolves around two reports published in 2016. The first report alleges the illicit sale of the land for ₹13 crores to a private entity, while the second report accuses the authorities of negligence in addressing illegal encroachment on the same land.

In 2017, following the publication of the reports, the chairman of the management committee of DAV Public Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar, Srinagar filed a defamation complaint against Greater Kashmir. Subsequently, a trial court ordered an inquiry into the matter, which led to the court taking cognizance of the case and issuing process against Greater Kashmir, its representatives, and the author of the allegedly defamatory article.

The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Fayaz Ahmed Kaloo, its publisher Rashid Makhdoomi, and correspondent Syed Rizwan Geelani (the three accused) challenged this decision in the High Court. Initially, on December 27, 2019, the High Court stayed the proceedings in the criminal complaint against the three accused petitioners. However, on April 19 of this year, the High Court dismissed their petition and directed the trial court to resume hearing the case.

Key Observations

  • The High Court pointed out that Greater Kashmir had made allegations without citing other sources, emphasizing the importance of evaluating intent and sources in the trial court.
  • Justice Rahul Bharti clarified that precedent from previous cases wouldn’t apply in this context.
  • Matters related to intent and sources of information are to be addressed by the trial court.
  • Advocate Navyug Sethi represented Greater Kashmir, while Senior Advocate CM Koul and Advocate AR Bhat appeared for the complainant.


The High Court’s decision reaffirms the role of the trial court in evaluating defamation claims, setting the stage for further legal proceedings in the contentious case against Greater Kashmir.

Read More: Supreme CourtDelhi High CourtStates High CourtOther CourtsInternational

Recommended For You

About the Author: Payal Singh